Biggest Winners and Losers of MLB Week 10
Week 10 of the 2013 MLB season featured stunning individual performances, surging and scuffling teams, and embarrassment on and off the field. If you missed an inning of it, get the gist of the past seven days with this list of winners and losers from Week 10.
The two largest markets in the league—New York and Los Angeles—made a season's worth of news in just 168 hours, and other storylines included the MLB draft, some terrible umpiring and new developments in the Biogenesis scandal.
Let's take a look at the best and worst that Week 10 had to offer.
All video links via MLB.com.
Winner: Mark Appel
Mark Appel's camp couldn't reach an agreement with the Pittsburgh Pirates when they selected him eighth overall in the 2012 MLB draft. He decided to return to Stanford for his senior season, risking injury in hopes of positioning himself for a larger signing bonus.
The right-hander couldn't have planned it any better. On Thursday, Appel's hometown Houston Astros made him the No. 1 pick. Considering how little the franchise is spending on major league payroll, they had the resources to write him a hefty seven-figure check.
Appel tells MLB.com about how much he enjoyed growing up in Houston, his family members who still live nearby and his affinity for Minute Maid Park.
Because starting pitching is a glaring weakness for the Astros, he will be fast-tracked to the big leagues.
Loser: Austin Wilson
However, Austin WIlson tumbled all the way to the No. 49 pick, probably due to concerns about his right elbow. The Seattle Mariners should be ecstatic that he fell into their laps, but that doesn't mean the feeling was mutual.
Ever since Brett Boone, Ken Griffey Jr. and Tino Martinez left, the Mariners have been unable to develop elite, consistent hitters. Former first-rounder Adam Jones, for example, didn't find success until moving to the Baltimore Orioles. Dustin Ackley has regressed sharply since his rookie year.
Even if Wilson does emerge as a star outfielder, he won't have much motivation on a perpetually disappointing Seattle team that seemingly gets robbed in every trade.
Winners: New York Yankees
The New York Yankees pitching staff was outstanding in Week 10, allowing only 18 runs (2.6 per game) as the Yankees won six out of seven. Mariano Rivera saved four of the victories, and No. 5 starter David Phelps stifled both the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners (12.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 BB, 13 K).
Center fielder Brett Gardner, however, made the biggest splash of the week for the Yankees. He batted .520 with five doubles and a home run while playing all seven games and striking out just twice. Gardner's hot streak elevated his OPS from .732 to .802.
New York also received good news about Michael Pineda, as the right-hander was cleared to begin a rehab assignment following shoulder surgery and promptly pitched well at High-A Tampa (4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 4 SO).
Losers: Cleveland Indians
All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera suffered a strained quad on Monday, June 3, forcing the Cleveland Indians to place him on the disabled list.
Painful as that seemed, the rest of the week was even more excruciating for the Tribe, who dropped all six of their games by three runs or less. Even worse, their opponents—the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers—are legitimate contenders in the American League and they could ill afford losing ground to either.
Cleveland enters Monday, June 10, 5.5 games out of the AL Central lead and tied with the Kansas City Royals in the loss column.
Winners: Kyle Seager and Jordan Zimmermann
Considering the weeks that they had, Kyle Seager and Jordan Zimmermann seem completely indispensable to the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals, respectively.
Maybe each team will want to go year by year with their contracts until free agency, but both should be approached with generous contract extensions in the coming months.
Seattle doesn't get consistent production from Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak or any of its other young hitters expected to seize everyday jobs. Actually, three of those four aren't even on the current active roster.
Seager, on the other hand, batted .407 last week, including a clutch grand slam in extra innings.
Zmmermann has been overshadowed by the hype machine that is Stephen Strasburg and the superior strikeout totals of Gio Gonzalez.
The Nats, however, must be concerned about Strasburg's fragility. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010, Starsburg is back on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his back. Meanwhile, Gonzalez's name appeared in the Biogenesis records, marking the latest chapter of suspected players using performance-enhancing drugs around the majors. His availability could be affected later in 2013.
Not so quietly, Zimmermann is emerging as the clear No. 1 in Washington's rotation. He proved it in two starts this week, both of which culminated in wins for the Nationals (15.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 12 K). Of course, it helped that Zimmerman faced the Minnesota Twins and New York Mets.
Losers: Matt Moore and Starlin Castro
Entering the week, Matt Moore was undefeated with an opponents' .178 batting average against him to emerged as a dark-horse contender for the AL Cy Young Award.
Then the BABIP gods caught up to him. The lefty allowed 19 hits and 14 earned runs in only seven total innings against the Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles, as his ERA ballooned from 2.18 to 3.78.
A rain-shortened start at Progressive Field on May 31 may be responsible for disrupting Moore's rhythm. He returned to the mound on three days' rest and has had sloppy location on his pitches ever since.
Starlin Castro's slump has persisted since Opening Day, writes Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago.com, but it has reached new depths lately. The longtime No. 2 hitter was dropped down to the seventh spot on Tuesday, and he's still looking lost at the plate.
Castro had one hit in 18 at-bats. His batting average sits at .243, which is the lowest it has been since April 7.
Winner: Boston Red Sox Offense
David Ortiz drove in an MLB-best 12 runs, while Jose Iglesias actually rose his already ridiculous batting average from .434 to .446. Collectively, the Boston Red Sox scored 17 runs on Tuesday, and 47 total runs in their six games for Week 10.
Several Boston hitters had superb weeks, but nobody needed to heat up as badly as Mike Carp. The reserve outfielder/first baseman was mired in a 6-for-41 slump (15 K in 43 PA) that caused his OPS to plummet from 1.516 to .904.
Against the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels, he doubled his season home run total with three bombs. Even Mike Trout couldn't rob him of a homer on Sunday.
Losers: Stadium Grounds Crews
Weather around the country has been particularly uncooperative in 2013. There were more weather-related postponements during the first nine weeks of this season than in all of 2012.
Four more were added to that total in Week 10. Friday night games at Citi Field and Fenway Park were rained out, and the Washington Nationals had their scheduled home contests on Thursday and Friday washed away.
Moreover, 15 other matchups carried into extra innings. Extended action can do just as much damage to a field as Mother Nature.
Five games went 12 innings or longer, including an 18-inning test of endurance in Toronto and a 20-inning marathon played between the Miami Marlins and New York Mets on Saturday. Those playing fields looked more like battlefields when all was said and done.
Winner: Andy Pettitte
On the same day that Andy Pettitte picked up win No. 250 in dominant fashion (7.1 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) over the Mariners on Saturday, his son, Joshua, was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 37th round of the amateur draft.
The elder Pettitte—a southpaw, of course—was a late-round pick of the same organization coming out of high school.
His right-handed son is expected to take a different route and accept a scholarship offer from Baylor. Still, the Pettittes seem pretty excited about everything, reports David Waldstein of The New York Times.
Reaching the milestone bolstered Andy's lead over all other active pitchers as he became just the 47th player in MLB history to reach No. 250. In this era of heavy bullpen use, 250 is the new 300, explains Bleacher Report's own Jason Catania.
Losers: Shaun Marcum and Ike Davis (New York Mets)
The New York Mets scratched their plan to pitch Shaun Marcum on Sunday, when the Mets' contest against the Marlins on Saturday spilled into extra innings.
Matt Harvey abruptly left the Saturday game with lower back tightness and the bullpen steadily emptied as the Mets' lineup failed to push a run across.
In what was undoubtedly his finest performance of 2013, Marcum went eight innings after entering in the 13th inning. He threw 84 of 105 pitches for strikes (80 percent) and didn't surrender an extra-base hit.
His teammates, however, made a habit of stranding runners in scoring position, so the veteran was tagged with the loss when the Fish finally broke through for a run in the 20th inning. Despite a respectable 1.24 WHIP in nine appearances this season, Marcum remains winless.
At least he's still with the major league club. That's more than can be said of Ike Davis.
The franchise first baseman has been mired in a perplexing rut (.161/.242/.258, 66 K in 55 G). Unlike 2012, there's no underlying health issue, and the Mets finally got fed up with his mediocrity and demoted him, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
From May 26 to June 2, Davis actually seemed to be on the brink of breaking out with seven RBI in as many games, but that flash of adequacy didn't fool manager Terry Collins, who removed him for pinch-hitters in each of the past two games.
Winners: Unorthodox Postgame Interview Pranks
Postgame interviews in Major League Baseball tend to be fun yet formulaic.
The night's "hero" gives a minute-and-a-half of his time to a television reporter, and there are a few questions concerning individual achievement, which the player humbly deflects while praising his teammates.
As the conversation is winding down, the star player gets ambushed by a congratulatory pie in the face or Gatorade bath (or both, if you're Munenori Kawasaki) by his teammates.
Week 10 of the season included a couple of interesting exceptions. Nolan Arenado, of the Colorado Rockies, was doused with ice water following a walk-off home run, while emerging NL MVP candidate Paul Goldchmidt was showered in bubble gum.
Embrace creativity, guys.
Losers: Previously Injured Players
Yeesh, Daniel Hudson caught a tough break.
During the second inning of a rehab start at Double-A Jacksonville, just a couple of weeks away from joining the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation, Hudson re-tore his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he's expected to undergo Tommy John surgery again.
Fellow D-Backs starter Brandon McCarthy had a health scare of his own, reports Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. The right-hander memorably took a line drive to the skull last September. On Monday, June 3, he suffered the first seizure of his life while out for dinner.
McCarthy is already on the disabled list and hoping that this episode doesn't delay his comeback from shoulder inflammation.
Hanley Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers spent nearly all of May on the disabled list nursing a hamstring strain. The shortstop already feels "tightness" in the area, which has forced him out of the lineup. Manager Don Mattingly tells Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times that "it's a concern" that could force Ramirez back to the DL.
Two other veteran Dodgers, Josh Beckett and Matt Kemp, also experienced setbacks in their recoveries.
Ongoing knee issues forced 20-year-old phenom Bryce Harper to make that dreaded appointment with Dr. James Andrews. Both Ryan Braun (thumb) and Johnny Cueto (lat) re-aggravated old injuries.
Winners: Rookie Pitchers
Julio Teheran followed a great month of May with the best outing of his major league career on Wednesday.
Teheran took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates before Brandon Inge spoiled the masterpiece with a two-out single. Teheran still finished with 11 strikeouts and no runs allowed.
MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports than Brandon Beachy remains on track to debut for the Atlanta Braves on June 18. Based on Teheran's recent performance, however, deciding who to remove from the rotation will be difficult.
Nine days of rest didn't adversely affect Hyun-Jin Ryu, who induced a season-high 15 ground balls in an impressive no-decision.
Jose Alvarez, Chris Archer, Jose Fernandez and Shelby Miller all lasted six-plus innings while allowing two runs or fewer in their only starts of the week.
Losers: MLB Umpires
This past week's questionable calls included:
- Carlos Beltran getting credited with a stolen base despite sliding directly into Martin Prado's glove (June 4).
- Juan Pierre never tagged, called out by Bob Davidson anyway (June 4).
- Blown calls at both infield corners with the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies tied in extra innings (June 6).
- Allen Craig tapping first base in plenty of time to record the force out (June 7).
To add injuries to awfulness, Tyler Chatwood's pitch in the dirt bounced up and struck veteran umpire Kerwin Danley on the mask. Also, John Hirshbeck took a pitch off his wrist on Wednesday. Both exited their games immediately.
Instant replay and/or robot umps can't come soon enough.
Winner: Yasiel Puig (Los Angeles Dodgers)
For lack of a better phrase, we're calling it "Puig-mania." The 22-year-old Cuban is as watchable as any player on a last-place team could be, currently slugging .964.
He made history during his first week up from Double-A:
— MLB (@MLB) June 8, 2013
The Los Angeles Dodgers used him in every inning of every game from June 3-9. They aren't too worried about if/when Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp return from the disabled list.
"I feel very happy the fans are here and are cheering for me," Puig tells David Leon Moore of USA Today, "and I am happy the team is winning." Record-wise, this was L.A.'s most successful week since April 22-28.
Losers: Biogenesis Clients and Major League Baseball
With Biogenesis of America founder Tony Bosch willing to fill in the fuzzy details (via ESPN), the league may finally confirm its suspicions that Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and other major league players purchased performance-enhancing drugs.
It's hardly been a smooth process. Carlos Acevedo, one of Bosch's former partners and a key witness, feels bullied by Major League Baseball. His attorney has filed a motion to have him dismissed from the suit, according to that same report from Outside the Lines. Lengthy suspensions are more likely to hold up against appeals if Acevedo—or anybody with more credibility than Bosch—provides testimony.
Serious discipline would negatively affect both players and MLB. Fans affiliate themselves with certain teams, but many of them will lose motivation to purchase tickets and merchandise while big-name stars are sidelined.
In the long run, this drug bust should be great for the sport. However, there's not much to smile about right now.